Learn how to cook a whole turkey, Peking Style! This approach results in a delicious, crispy skinned, smoke roasted Thanksgiving turkey that’s sure to impress your family and friends this holiday season … or really, year ’round! For more Thanksgiving Recipes, Cooking Techniques & Ideas, check out our 100% free “Turkey Day Domination” Resource page linked here:
HOW TO A COOK TURKEY PEKING STYLE
Turkey in general is a bland meat, which gives us the opportunity as cooks to create lots of fun and unique flavors. Yet when it comes to the most delicious way to prepare and cook a turkey, smoke roasting is hard to beat. Throw in a couple tricks taken from Chinese cooking a la Peking Duck, and you have a unique centerpiece for your Thanksgiving Day table.
1⃣ DRY BRINE
Liberally season turkey inside & out with 1.5-2% kosher salt, based on the turkey’s total weight. For example, if you have a 14 pound turkey, multiply 14 by 16 ounces to get the Turkey’s total ounces in weight (14 X 16 = 224 ounces). Multiply 224 by 1.5% (0.015) which yields 3.36 ounces of salt (I would round to 3.5). For metric, simply take your weight in grams, and multiply as above.
Optionally, you can also add half a percent sugar by weight of the turkey, which will help to balance out the salt, and add another layer of flavor. (224 x 0.005 = 1.12 ounces).
Hang salted (dry brined) turkey in fridge for at least 12 hours, but for best results, 48 hours or longer.
Alternately, if you’re a fan of the wet brine, I recommend 5% salt, 3% sugar, and 0.5% baking soda, based on the total WEIGHT OF THE WATER needed to completely submerge the turkey. Cover turkey in wet brine for 24-36 hours, rinse, and hang for an additional 24 hours.
Scald the turkey skin with boiling water as shown in the video. This will cause the collagen in the skin to dissolve, which allows the skin to more thoroughly crisp.
Stuff turkey with aromatics of choice. In this video I use 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 star anise, 5 green onions, and 1 orange. Close the cavity with wooden skewers as demonstrated in the video, trimming off any pieces of skewers sticking out of the turkey. Prop the turkey wings away from the back using another skewer secured with butcher’s twine, as shown in the video.
Combine 1 cup Grade A maple syrup with 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, plus a few dashes of soy sauce and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer to dissolve.
Hang turkey so it’s fully suspended in the air, and brush glaze all over the exterior of the turkey. Allow glaze to set a room temperature for 15 minutes, apply a second coat, and rest for another 15 minutes. Repeat brushing and resting process for a total of 3 to 4 coats. Reserve leftover maple-cider glaze for your sauce.
Hang the turkey in your fridge for a minimum of 12 hours, and up to five days. The longer you hang the turkey, the drier the skin will become. Drier skin = crispier skin. Crispier skin = more delicious skin.
6⃣ SMOKE ROAST TURKEY
Hang the turkey on your smoker set to 325F / 163C, and roast until a probe thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast reads 150F / 66C, about 15 minutes per pound of bird.
There are lots of different smokers and BBQs on the market, and all of them can be set up to hold the above temperature for long periods of time with a little bit of know-how. Look up how-tos on your individual smoker to dial in and hold the appropriate temperature.
In this video, I use a 22″ Classic Weber Kettle with a Smoke EZ Extension ring. Further-more I use a Pit Viper fan attached to a FireBoard controller to help me effortlessly maintain my temperature.
FOR THE WOOD, I use Pecan, which I really enjoy with poultry in general. If I had cherry wood, I would have used that instead, as I love the rosy color it gives the turkey skin, which really makes it resemble the Peking Style duck.
Of course, if you have a specific wood preference, use that. However, I do find fruit woods such as apple, cherry, pear & peach, along with more subtle fruit woods like pecan & walnut, work the best when smoking turkey.
When turkey has finished cooking, hang over a pan to catch the drippings for your sauce, and allow to rest for at least 1 hour before carving.
* 2 Cups roasted Turkey Stock
* 1 Cup glazing liquid from above
* 1 Finger Ginger, Sliced
* 1 Orange, zest & juice
* 2 Table Spoons Corn Starch
* 2 Table Spoons Water
* Make sauce as demonstrated in video.
TOOLS & EQUIPMENT USED
* 22″ Weber Kettle (affiliate link) –
* Smoke EZ Extension Ring
* Pit Viper Fan
* FireBoard Controller
Alternately, you can use a bullet or barrel style smoker, which will actually work better than my setup.
* Pit Barrel Cook (affiliate) –
* Weber Smokey Mountain (affiliate) –
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!
in this video your cure to a boring Thanksgiving Day turkey this year crispy juicy peeking turkey with a delicious maple ginger dripping glaze stay tuned now I start this process that I would when cooking any other Turkey which is struggling to pull the chunk of ice that encases the neck out of the center of the turkey because no matter how long you defrost these things for they always seem to be a little bit icy no matter what then we're gonna remove the bag of giblets from the neck portion set those aside you can use those later in your gravy or stuffing now here I have just a our standard metal barbecue hook and I want to hang this bird but I want to make sure it's secure and doesn't fall during the roasting process so what I'm planning on doing here is pulling the skin back on the neck a little bit and it's drilling a hole straight through a couple of vertebrae's down from the top of where the turkeys head would normally be and this is gonna give me a nice sturdy chunk of bone to sink that hook into so that way I don't have to worry about this thing falling on me later on when I'm suspending it over a giant pot of boiling water now once you convince that the hook is securely in your turkey neck it's now time to dry brine your bird we want a dry brine instead of wet brine because the wet brine will dilute the flavor of the bird and also make this skin harder to crisp so here are taking about 1/2 percent by the weight of the bird of kosher salt sprinkling it on all sides and rubbing it in and then we're going to hang this in our fridge overnight but before we do that I start setting guessing my confidence in that hook so I grab my turkey hanger from the pit barrel cooker guys and shove it up the posterior of the turkey later on I realize this makes my turkey way too long to hang but I don't know that at this point also into the turkey goes to star anis two cinnamon sticks about 4-5 green onions that I cut up and shove in there we're doing a Peking style turkey so we won't some Chinese aromatics sliced ginger nice and long thin slices you can see I don't take the skin off because no need and then half of an orange I slice up and stuff into the cavity on this end and then later we'll stuff that other half in the neck region now here I have some wooden skewers that I'm using to close up that flap I don't have a ton of skin to work here so I can't really do the whole sewing trick where I just use one single skewer to sew everything up I also skewer the legs together just to kind of hold them in place and for the shape of the bird and I come back with some small wire cutters and trim off the long ends of the stick because my kitchen shears are dull as hell next I'm going to remove the wing tip and flap these things just burn and get in the way during this whole cooking process so we're gonna preemptively detach that portion of the wing leaving us just the drum tip in the way that we're doing that is we're cutting above the flat joint on the drumsticks that we're cutting all the way around and detaching that skin and tendon then we're basically bending the wing back the way it's not supposed to go compound fracture in it and then cutting through the joint with a sharp knife next we're gonna take another wooden skewer and place it behind the wing tips on the drum here and this is going to elevate the wings up and away from the back skin allowing for a better airflow which leads to the maximization of crispy skin which is what we want when we're doing a Peking style now to keep that skewer from sliding on place during the cooking process I'm just going to tie down both ends with a little bit of butchers twine trim it up and boom there we go we're gonna take that other half of the orange and shove it down into this neck cavity just to give us a little more aroma penetration and then I'm gonna pull that skin back over around this hanger and then skewer that shut and you guess it clip off the ends okay now this is the point where you hang this in your fridge that salt has time to penetrate the meat – keeping it moist and juicy during the cooking process the dry brine effect minimum twelve hours overnight best-case-scenario 24 hours and as long as 48 hours now I only have 36 hours to shoot this video for you guys so we're gonna pretend like I brine it overnight and skip the next step now here I have a wok full of water sitting on an induction burner underneath my newly installed ceiling hook in my kitchen with a chain hanging out so I can hang my turkey now this allows us to take the boiling water underneath the turkey ladle it all over the skin and this shrinks the skin by basically breaking down the collagen and the collagen if it's not broken down well by into water and keep the skin from crisping so this allows for a crispier tighter skin now you may be asking why I don't just put it in a large pot well here's my largest pot and as you can see the turkey doesn't fully fit now also if we just drop this turkey into a boiling pot of water it's going to cool down the water really quickly and it's not gonna maintain the temperature now if you don't have a wok you can just use a pot of water off the side with a bowl underneath it to collect all the hot water that drips off but you're not gonna look as cool now after our turkey has had a thorough bath and is just hanging out we're going to make our glaze with two parts real maple syrup not the fake stuff and one part good apple cider vinegar add to it a pinch of salt for seasoning and then your second part of your maple syrup why did I do it like that well because I didn't realize that I wanted two parts until after I taste it so that's why you taste stuff bring the blaze to a simmer give some stirs just to make sure that all the ingredients are getting to know each other and hanging out real nice and a couple of dashes of soy sauce for some saltiness umami and also just to help darken the glaze kill the heat once the flavor is where you want it Pat your turkey dry just to make sure that you don't have any excess moisture on the surface and then you're going to start basting it with your warm glaze and you're gonna brush it all over and it's a pretty thin glaze so it's gonna look like it's not doing much at first but you don't want this to be super thick and gloppy so a nice thin glaze the stickiness from the syrup is going to adhere to this skin and once you've thoroughly coated all areas of the skin on the turkey you're gonna let it hang out for 15 minutes and air dry and then come back and apply a second coating you're gonna notice now because you have that base coating it's very similar to painting walls now your next coat is going to adhere better now you're going to repeat this one more time for three coats total if you have a little extra time go ahead and throw a fourth coat on there and remember each time you're gonna let this dry sitting at room temperature for 15 minutes so that way the following coat has a chance to stick to it now here I place that hook back in there because I had measured and realized that if I try and hang this on my smoker it's gonna be way too long it's gonna bottom out on the smoker and get all burnt up now after you've applied your three coats of glaze you want to hang this in your fridge I'm just using a wooden dowel and spanning it across where my shelves would normally go towards the top of the fridge and I'm gonna hang this in here minimum overnight but the longer you hang it the better it'll be the easier the skin will be to crisp so you can hang this up to five days in your fridge and this gives you a longer time span to execute so then the day of you can just grab your turkey and rock and roll if you don't have room in your fridge you can go ahead and just place it on a wire rack overnight and then skip the next day now when turkey day finally rolls around I want you to get up early that morning pour yourself a cup of coffee and then hang your turkey in the center of your kitchen this is going to allow the skin to dry out a little bit more before cooking and when somebody walks into your house on Thanksgiving and they see a turkey hanging right in the center of your kitchen they know you mean business they know they're in for a good meal now if this doesn't draw the attention of your guests what I want you to do is grab your loudest hair dryer and start blow drying the skin of this turkey this will surely bring everybody's attention to the fact that you have an amazing turkey being prepped in your kitchen and that you are true culinary gangster Plus dryer skin is crispy your skin after your blow-drying treatment you're going to set up your smoker and here I have about two-thirds of a chimney of charcoal and I'm gonna light the other third using two wax cubes because if you haven't noticed you I kind of like to overdo things choose better than one and we're gonna let this go for about 15 minutes or until the charcoal becomes Y in ash Dover and is glowing red hot now lighting just a portion of your charcoal and pouring it on top of your unlit charcoal it's called the minion method and it allows us to control the burn of our charcoal so it doesn't get too hot what we're shooting for here is about 325 degrees Fahrenheit which is a good roasting temperature for your turkey three chunks of wood a choice I'm using pecan cherry wood it is all so great any fruit would and here I have a extension ring for my Webber that allows me to hang stuff I'm also gonna set up my pit viper fan and plug it in my control board now of course this is purely optional but on a busy day like Thanksgiving I want to make sure that I have all my turkeys in her row and this allows me to hold a steady temperature so I can focus my attention on hosting and cooking other stuff like delicious stuffing and some gravy now with the smoke easy extension ring which this isn't an ad by the way I just love this ring it comes a little hanging device that you stick right on top and this basically turned your weber kettle into a barrel cooker so if you have a pit barrel cooker then you can use that and really you can use any smoker that you want that can hold you know with a temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit which is really any smoker now I'm going to use my controller online phone pretty nifty right to tell the fire board that I want to set my smoker temp to 325 then I'm going to take my other probe thermometer I'm gonna stick it down into the thickest part of the breast and I like to push it all the way into a hits bone and then back it out by about a quarter-inch this is because bone acts as a heat diffuser so if you're hitting the bone you're not gonna get a true reading now once your smoker is up to temperature go ahead and walk your turkey outside and hang it as shown here now you can also hang this from the top rack of your oven if you don't have a smoker if you don't have the ability to hang your bird in your smoker you can just lay it on its back in a roasting pan and smoke it at 325 like usual however hanging does lead to a better all-around flavor number one it fully encompasses the bird in heat so the skin crisps evenly number two as the juices and fat come to the surface of the bird and then drip down onto the fire below the juices in fact they combust and they create these amazing complex aromatic molecules that base the bird and give it that amazing smoky roasted soulful flavor that you can't get when you don't hang directly over a fire place your lid on top cross your fingers make a sacrifice for the smoke gods and do whatever you got to do to hold that temperature at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes for every pound of bird you have or more precisely when that probe thermometer you snuck into the thickest the breast reaches a hundred and fifty degrees internal because it's going to cook up once you rested at that moment you should be able to remove the lid and your bird should look something like this oh my goodness how gorgeous now if you're a cool guy like me you got one of these nifty tools that allows you to just grab one of these folks nope oh damn I just dropped it alright well it looks like we're using the towel method okay so go ahead and grab a towel and lift this whole thing up now I'm not gonna lie to you removing this from this setup was very precarious if you got a buddy grab your buddy because you'll need an extra pair of hands hang it in your kitchen and do a victory lap now this next step is very important what kind of important pretty important let the bird rest and let it rest for a long time minimum one hour yes one hour when I did this bird Ryan did this test I let it rest for two hours and it was perfect you need to allow time for the juices in this bird to be reabsorbed back into the meat before you carve it or everything up into this point is going to be for nothing now when you hang it in your kitchen make sure you hang it over a pan so you can collect all the drippings these drippings can be used of course to make your favorite traditional gravy or a maple ginger glaze which I'm gonna show you right now so take your turkey down set it aside to be carved here in a few seconds once you finish your sauce now here I have some green onions I'm just ringing off the root and cutting off the white portion that white portion we're gonna set aside and we're gonna char that for our garnish later on and here to our pan drippings we're gonna add one cup of our leftover glaze from yesterday which if you remember has the maple syrup and the apple cider vinegar to that we're gonna add some homemade turkey stock two cups or you can use a homemade chicken stock and then some sliced ginger add in the ginger and then zest one whole orange and people really don't know how to zest citrus it's crazy see how I'm holding the zester upside down like that and that way I can go all over this piece of fruit here click the zest and then once it's all collected I can flip it out cut douche right in the pan there no one does that I don't know why it's always crazy it's the best way to do it cut the orange in half go ahead and squeeze it on into your liquid you simmer this for about 15 minutes until the flavors started to concentrate and get a little more intense and then you can thicken it with a little bit of a slurry now here I have a tablespoon of cornstarch and a tablespoon of water I'm going to stir this in bring it back to a simmer check it out and I realized I still a little bit too thin so I'm gonna add another tablespoon of cornstarch tablespoon of water slurry and and I'm gonna reduce to my final consistency and that's how you want to thicken with a slurry or a roux because if you add too much then your sauce is done it's you can't really thin them back out I mean you can but just gonna ruin all your flavor structure that you worked so hard for so add your thickening a little bit at a time and then reduce to final consistency check it and taste it for flavor now while that sauce is finishing to reduce I'm gonna take a little bit of cooking oil here and place it in a hot skillet swirl it around a little bit and dump it on out so that way I have a nice thin coating but my pan isn't overly oily and once that pan is raging hot I'm gonna drop in the white parts of the green onions season with some salt toss toss toss until I have a nice char and set those aside for my garnish now here I'm tasting the sauce for final texture and for flavor I'm gonna pass it through a strainer toss in the green part of the sliced green onions and set that aside now it is finally time to carve our Peking turkey remove all the wooden skewers and the metal hook cut off the peak of the idea pull out all the stuff that you had on the inside all those aromatics are dancing is toss them and then the carving is pretty simple you're just running the knife down between the body and the leg and thigh region of the turkey and you can see I open it up on both sides here so that way I can flip it up on end and I mean basically just running my knife through the joint and detaching that hindquarter same thing running the knife through the joint as I'm pulling it away from the bird and attaching that hindquarter next I'm gonna take my knife I'm gonna slice down the center of this bird on one side of the breastbone it doesn't really matter which side and then with my nan knife hand I'm gonna start to slowly just peel that breast away and you always just want to make sure that you're angling your knife edge towards the bone because that way if you're miss you're chunking the bone instead of the meat repeat the same process on the other side remove the second breast lay the breast meat side down and then don't forget this beautiful back skin here go ahead and pull that off that's a great little scooby snack to reward yourself for all of your hard work if you're feeling charitable you can share that with your family and friends now the muscle fibers of the breast run horizontally from wing to tip so you want to make sure you're slicing from the tip all the way up to the wing horizontally in thin strips this is going to shorten the muscle fibers making the breast perceptibly more tender then for your leg and thigh just run your knife between the thigh and leg joint detaching the thigh from the leg and then I like to just remove that thigh bone by running my knife along it underneath it and then cross cut the meat into some thin strips and then I'll take my knife scoop it all up a flip its skin side up and then scoop it up and place on a plate right next to my breast finish my presentation with the turkey leg right on top now as you can see here I split the turkey between two plates that way it's much easier to pass around the table garnish with our charred green onions serve alongside a gravy or your delicious dripping glaze and there you go ladies and gentlemen peeking turkey for your Thanksgiving Day pleasure but wait there's more check out our Thanksgiving Day resource page so you can totally dominate turkey Day this year 15 plus video techniques for your sides gravies and everything you need to be the baddest cook on your blog subscribe if you haven't already like and share this video because I'm inclined you watch the whole thing and Happy Thanksgiving